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Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An unidentified man trespassed into Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's district office in Queens on Saturday, sprayed a fire extinguisher and then hid in a closet until police were able to detain him, according to New York's ABC7.

Police were alerted to the incident by building security, and the man is in police custody, the station reported, citing the New York Police Department.

There was no one at the office at the time.

Ocasio-Cortez was in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. She is due to appear on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Sunday morning.

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Twitter/@ewarren(LOS ANGELES) -- Justino Mora was an all-star teenager: the co-captain of his track and field team, a youth altar boy at his Los Angeles church and in the top 5% of his graduating class.

But his ambitions had limitations. Mora crossed over to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 11 years old. Even though he was accepted into Cal Poly and University of California, Berkeley, because he is an undocumented immigrant, he didn't qualify for state financial aid.

"It changed my view of the American Dream," he said. "We're told if we do our best, that all these doors of opportunity will open up. For me that wasn't the case."

He is one of more than 700,000 children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents who were given protected status under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order.

Mora, an immigrant rights activist, is now looking to see how Democratic presidential candidates will think about the future of young people in the same plight.

California Sen. Kamala Harris is the most recent candidate to release a proposal addressing the group this week detailing how she would use executive action to help Dreamers reach citizenship. Her proposal is aimed at breaking the barriers Dreamers often face when trying to apply for citizenship. The policy plan teases out whether an applicant is considered to have entered the country lawfully or unlawfully, has maintained lawful status and whether he or she accepted authorized employment.

Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute said Harris' proposal gets at critical hurdles Dreamers face.

"Right now there are a lot of unauthorized immigrants and Dreamers who might have a family member or employer who would wish to sponsor them for a green card. But under the current law, they face barriers," Gelatt said. "She’s trying to remove some of those barriers so they can find legal status."

Harris held an immigration policy roundtable Friday with Dreamers, including Astrid Silva at the University of Nevada immigration clinic in Las Vegas. Nevada is home to roughly 13,000 Dreamers.

Harris said she would implement her executive order for Dreamers on her first day in office, and also said with her history of fighting against attempts to undo DACA in the past, she is prepared to fight for it again in the courtroom if her executive order was taken to court. She also made it clear that undocumented youth wouldn't be the only people she'd be fighting for, and extending the "ceiling and floor" when it came to a path to citizenship for all ages was a priority.

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro is another 2020 candidate with a solution for Dreamers and was the first candidate with a proposal on immigration. Unlike Harris, who intends to use executive authority, he hopes to use the legislative progress to fight for DACA and Temporary Protected Status, people from select countries are offered temporary protections because their home regions are exceptionally violent or were damaged by natural disasters. His goal is to help Dreamers and those under Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure achieve citizenship through the Dream and Promise Act of 2019.

Gelatt says, "It seems like they have the same plan A but Harris is thinking ahead to what she might to if Congress doesn’t open that path." She called Harris' proposal a "pessimistic" because it bypasses Congress but later added, "It’s probably quite realistic for Harris to think even with a new Congress striking a deal for protections could remain very difficult."

Former Texas Beto O'Rourke also released a proposal two weeks ago stating that as a part of his first 100 days in office, he would create an "earned pathway to citizenship" for 11 million people including Dreamers and those under Temporary Protected Status through a series of executive and legislative actions.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's immigration policy while focusing on climate migration features a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system and focuses on a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and expedited eligibility for Dreamers.

Many other candidates haven't rolled out proposals but many have been vocal on the fate of DACA recipients.

Amy Klobuchar was one of the senators on the bipartisan group of senators who negotiated on behalf of their cause with Trump, a decision that got a lot of pushback from immigrant rights groups. She said on "This Week" she would be willing to go along with some wall funding in turn for protections for Dreamers.

Most other candidates have addressed the Dreamer issue without supporting any aspect of Trump's long-desired border wall in exchange.

Cory Booker told NPR, "I will do everything I can to ensure that DACA children, that Dreamers, who are Americans in every way except for a piece of paper."

In his first CNN Town Hall, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Dreamers were "not U.S. citizens, but in many cases, this is the only country they can even remember because they came to this country through no choice of their own. And so I think it's one of the reasons why there's a broad U.S. consensus that we need to find a way to protect Dreamers."

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney in the past called Trump's decision to end DACA "cruel, heartless and mean-spirited" and as a congressman, co-sponsored the DREAM Act in 2017. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock was one of eleven governors to sign a letter urging Congress to protect Dreamers.

Mora calls a majority of these plans a bare minimum.

"My biggest concern is that a lot of concern is going to DACA recipients where there should be more focus on inhumane actions of the U.S. government," he said. "What are we going to do about ice? Politicians should be talking about abolishing it."

While Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders states on his website that he voted against creating the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, he says he now wants to completely reshape it and has also laid out a plan to expand DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. He told Telemundo he would act on immigration in the first 100 days on his administration.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been vocal about abolishing ICE, while also calling for completely rebuilding the immigration system and supporting a pathway to citizenship and protection for DACA recipients and TPS.

Meanwhile, as Mora remains in limbo, always aware his current DACA status may not be renewed, he said he's more curious on how many politicians feel about the current state of immigration in the country.

"My question is how do those elected officials feel that their decisions are resulting in babies not seeing their parents one more day? Do they feel ashamed? Do they feel ashamed about living in the best country in the world, but in reality, we have people in detentions, people getting killed by ICE willful negligence?"

He says their actions are more important than his feelings when it comes to this issue.

"I made the decision a long time ago to live my life to the fullest and not see the government to my pursuit of happiness."

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iStock Photo/deberarr(NEW YORK) -- Tucked away in a $92.5 billion budget, agreed to with a handshake deal between Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Friday, was an agreement to make New York City the first city in the country to fund abortion services.

The New York Abortion Access Fund will provide $250,000 from the budget to help low-income citizens access abortion services.

The funding was championed by the council's Women's Caucus, led by co-chairs Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera.

"Before Roe v Wade, NYC was a haven for women who wanted the freedom to choose," Rivera wrote on Twitter. "It's time for our City to be that beacon for the country once again."

The council is required to vote on the budget before July 1, but passage is expected as a formality.

Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that protects a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, has come under assault more than ever in recent months. Multiple states have instituted severely restrictive bans on abortion, often only allowing them when the mother's life is at risk.

Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi are among the states to pass some of the most restrictive bans, often labeled "heartbeat" bans, for not allowing the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

In all, 17 bans have been signed in 10 states in 2019 -- but every type of ban is facing a legal challenge, and none of the laws have been enacted.

Many conservative politicians and activists hope those legal challenges will be appealed up to the Supreme Court, where recent Donald Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch have tipped the power, 5-4, in favor of conservative judges.

Other states, including New York, have gone in the opposite direction -- passing protections for a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion.

New York City is the first municipality to actually provide funding for those in need, though.

"This was an initiative coming out of the council, but I certainly support it," De Blasio said at a press conference Friday. "We understand that there are women who need help and are having trouble getting the help they need. And the city had an opportunity here to step up."

De Blasio is currently running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. He has been an outspoken advocate for abortion access and supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which doesn't allow federal funding for abortion services.

"I am proud that we are doing this," Johnson said Friday. "This is to help low-income women in New York City who have faced barriers to access to health care, get the care that they need and that they deserve.

"And what typically happens when abortion care is restricted across the country, wealthier women still can get abortions because they can fly to places and drive across state lines to get abortions. But what happens is low-income women, predominately women of color, are the ones that are locked out of the health care system and aren’t able to have abortion access."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump continued his war of words with former Vice President Joe Biden in an exclusive interview with ABC News, hitting the Democratic presidential frontrunner for reversing some long-held views such as his position on a measure that bans federal funding for abortions.

“He has recalibrated on everything… Everything he’s said he’s taken back two weeks later because he’s getting slammed by the left. And he stuck with this stuff. He’s really stuck with this,” Trump told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday during an exclusive interview.

Biden recently announced he no longer supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding from being used to pay for abortions except for cases in which there was a threat to the patient's life, rape or incest. The law largely affects patients who are on Medicaid, meaning low-income patients have to pay for an abortion out-of-pocket.

The former vice president reversed his stance just one day after his campaign said his position on the amendment had not changed – and after being heavily criticized by several of his 2020 opponents.

Trump’s comments came the same day Biden turned up the heat on his attacks of Trump while both were in Iowa. In his remarks throughout the state, Biden called the president an “existential threat to America,” and “a genuine threat to our core values.” Trump’s comments were on Tuesday, the same day that Biden said the president presents an “existential threat to America.”

As the 2020 race heats up, President Trump has kept his focus on Biden, whom Trump has called “the weakest mentally.”

“He wanted to be the tough guy. He’s not a tough guy, he’s a weak guy,” Trump told Stephanopoulos in their interview.

Early internal polling data from the Trump campaign conducted in March and recently obtained exclusively by ABC News shows that the president trailed Biden in three key states that he won in 2016: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida.

Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale said those numbers are “ancient,” saying “Since then, we have seen huge swings in the President’s favor.”

Still, Biden and Trump’s attacks show no signs of slowing down. In a video released Friday, Biden slammed Trump for his admission during his interview with Stephanopoulos that he would accept information on an opponent from a foreign entity.

“Donald Trump doesn’t think it matters if candidates for presidency accept damaging information on their opponents from foreign governments. I believe he’s dead wrong.”

Tune in Sunday at 8 p.m. for an hour-long ABC News special, only on ABC — including "ABC News Live," the 24/7 streaming news channel available on, Roku, Hulu, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- "Covfefe," the word that had the country in a social media uproar when President Donald Trump tweeted it in 2017, was on display Friday along with many of his other tweets just in time for the commander in chief's 73rd birthday.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah presented Washington D.C. with its first “Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library” in celebration of the president’s big day.

The Twitter library launch marks the seventh one that the show has hosted in the country — making stops in Austin, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.

Pres. Trump's "covfefe" tweet has become president's most retweeted tweet since Inauguration Day, surpassing tweet from recent foreign trip.

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 31, 2017

Desi Lydic, a Daily Show correspondent, told ABC News the show team began to wonder what the president's library would look like if he had one, and the rest was history.

“We started realizing he doesn’t have a lot of paper documents, but he does have a lot of tweets,” Lydic said. “So, we decided to come up with a presidential Twitter library with President Trump’s most poetic and important tweets.”

Lydic’s favorite Trump tweet?

“Probably covfefe,” she told ABC News. “I don’t know if it was misspelled...but it got us all talking so maybe that was its intent.”

The showroom is filled with Trump's past tweets about the birther movement, Russia, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and nicknames for his most beloved colleagues.

“I think my favorite part is the Trump vs. Trump exhibit where we can see the president battling himself on Twitter through his own contradictory tweets,” said Ronny Chieng, a Daily Show correspondent.

In that exhibit, two digital displays show different contradictory tweets from Trump. On one screen, a tweet from April 2013 said, "The Time Magazine list of the 100 Most Influential People is a joke and stunt of a magazine that will, like Newsweek, soon be dead. Bad list!"

On the other side, a 2016 tweet about Time said, "Thank you to Time Magazine and Financial Times for naming me 'Person of the Year' — a great honor!

“The stats have actually showed that he’s slowed down recently — all the more reason to have a presidential Twitter library to kind of bring awareness back to his Twitter feed and make it great again,” Chieng said.

The president is still far from putting his Twitter fingers away any time soon, Chieng said, adding, “I’ll think he’ll continue using Twitter because it’s one of his most effective tools.”

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iStock/Luka Banda(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of President Donald Trump’s comments to ABC News that he would be open to foreign offers of political dirt on his 2020 rivals before maybe contacting the FBI, Democrats on Capitol Hill used the controversial remarks to renew their push for legislation targeting foreign assistance in American campaigns – a push that’s already run up against some Republican opposition.

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said representatives would take up legislation that would require candidates to contact the FBI if contacted by a foreign government offering political dirt during a campaign. That measure appeared to have Republican support, as Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who largely otherwise defended Trump's remarks to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, said Republicans would "gladly vote for this."

But a similar measure in the Senate on Thursday hit a partisan wall after Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., attempted to have the bill passed immediately and unanimously.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., blocked the measure, saying on the Senate floor that the reporting requirements in the legislation were “over broad.” In a statement later, Blackburn went further, saying that Democrats were trying to rush the legislation through Congress “without giving it a chance for the careful consideration and debate needed to address such an important issue” and calling Warner’s unanimous consent proposal a “blatant political stunt.”

Trump Friday revised his comments about foreign assistance, telling “Fox and Friends” that he would likely look at the material offered, but also report it to the Department of Justice or the FBI.

The back-and-forth over Trump’s original comments came amid a larger campaign by House Democrats to respond to special counsel Robert Mueller's findings about Russian influence in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s response to those efforts.

Both the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees held hearings this week on elements of the Mueller report featuring legal and counterintelligence experts.

House Democratic leaders are currently reviewing other legislative proposals that could receive votes on the floor before the chamber's August recess, potentially including pieces of HR 1, Democrats' massive election security anti-corruption package passed earlier this year -- which Republicans also have complained is also overly broad.

Another proposal would clarify election regulations surrounding foreign nationals involvement in elections. Under current rules, foreigners are prohibited from making financial contributions to American campaigns or donating any other "thing of value," according to the Federal Election Commission.

"Whether or not you can establish monetary value, they have implied value, and those should be banned," Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., said of opposition research.

Outside the political gamesmanship on Capitol Hill, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. agencies are racing to shore up America’s defenses ahead of a 2020 presidential race in which U.S. officials suspect Russia could make a return to attack America’s political process, potentially with other adversary actors as well.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump rushed to the defense of one of his top political advisers on Friday, after a federal watchdog accused White House counselor Kellyanne Conway of violating a law that bars some government employees of engaging in political activity while acting in their official capacities.

In an unprecedented move, the Office of Special Counsel described Conway as a "repeat offender" of the Hatch Act and recommended she be removed from federal service.

"It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech," Trump said in an interview with Fox and Friends Friday. "No, I’m not going to fire her.”

It's not the first time a Trump Administration official has been found to have run afoul of the 1939 law, but the most recent dramatic feud has left many with questions as to what exactly the Hatch Act is, whether it conflicts with First Amendment rights to free speech, and why those close to the president are able to allegedly violate it with no apparent consequences.

What is the Hatch Act?

The Hatch Act was originally passed in 1939 following allegations that employees of a New Deal agency dubbed the Works Progress Administration had used their official positions to benefit the Democratic Party. The act sought to outlaw bribery and coercion of voters by public officials and placed restrictions on federal employees from engaging in certain political activities.

It has been significantly amended in the decades since, and has withstood several challenges in front of the Supreme Court regarding concerns it overly restricts employees' free speech rights.

Under the current version of the law, federal employees in the executive branch are prohibited from using their official positions "for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election," according to the OSC. In past decades, the Hatch Act has been in the headlines in cases where top officials in the Trump, Obama and Bush administrations have been found to have advocated for a particular party or candidate while acting or being identified by their official titles.

The law generally doesn't prohibit employees from acts such as placing campaign slogans or signage on their personal property, or expressing their political opinions at work as long as that isn't done for the express purpose of engaging in campaign-related activity on behalf of a particular candidate or cause.

Federal employees deemed "further restricted employees" are held to different standards under the act, however, and generally face more stringent conditions regarding their abilities to engage in political activity like attending campaign events or conventions, or handing out fliers at polling places, for instance.

Can you be punished for violating the Hatch Act?

Yes. According to the OSC, all civilian employees serving in the executive branch of government -- with the exception of the President and Vice President, are subject to scrutiny under the Hatch Act.

Federal employees found in violation of the Hatch Act by the independent Merit Systems Protection Board can face punishment such as removal from federal service, a point reinforced in Special Counsel Henry Kerner's letter to Trump regarding Conway's alleged violations.

"If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in removal from her federal position by the Merit Systems Protection Board," said Kerner, who previously served under former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz on the House Oversight Committee and was appointed to the position by Trump in 2017. "Ms. Conway's violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act's restrictions."

However, presidential appointees who are a part of the Executive Office of the President aren't subject to the same accountability as other executive branch employees and can't be punished or removed in the same fashion as the rest of the executive branch workforce.

In the case of close advisers to the president, as in Conway's case, or even Cabinet officials, the final determination on how to handle Hatch Act violations is left in the hands of the President.

President Barack Obama similarly didn't discipline his former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2012 when she was found in violation of the Hatch Act, or his HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who was found in violation of the Hatch Act for a 2016 interview in which he praised Hillary Clinton.

However, both of those officials released statements apologizing following the OSC's investigations -- while Conway has remained defiant and not apologized or even acknowledged her alleged violations, according to the OSC.

What is Kellyanne Conway accused of doing?

In his 17-page report to the president, Kerner chronicles what he describes as multiple blatant violations of the Hatch Act by Conway in TV appearances and activity on her Twitter account, @KellyannePolls.

The report followed a separate determination by the OSC in March of 2018 that Conway had violated the act when she advocated against Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones' candidacy in his race against Republican Roy Moore.

But that report did not sway Conway from changing her tune in multiple TV interviews this year, in which she attacked other Democratic candidates including Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden.

One of the political tweets from Conway flagged by the OSC displayed a collection of pictures showing the faces of several female Democratic senators watching the president's State of the Union Speech, that was captioned with "He's got this. #2020I'mWithHim."

He’s got this. #2020:I’mWithHim. @realDonaldTrump

— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 6, 2019

"By engaging in political activity while speaking in her official capacity, Ms. Conway used her official authority or influence for the purpose of affecting the result of an election in violation of the Hatch Act," the OSC report reads. "The sheer number of occurrences underscores the egregious nature of her violations."

Kerner notes that Conway was recently confronted by a reporter in one instance where she engaged in political speech, to which Conway shot back sarcastically, "Let me know when the jail sentence starts."

Isn't Conway just engaging in First Amendment-protected speech?

President Trump is far from the first person to question whether the Hatch Act puts a muzzle on what most Americans would consider First Amendment-protected speech.

In his letter responding to Kerner's report on Conway, White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued the "OSC's overbroad and unsupported interpretation of the Hatch Act risks violating Ms. Conway's First Amendment rights and chills the free speech of all government employees."

But proponents of the law argue that it does a public service in separating the official functions of the U.S. government from the partisan battles seen in elections.

For instance, a majority opinion issued in a Supreme Court challenge to the Hatch Act in 1947 upheld the law on the basis that political activity could disrupt the very ability for government agencies to function, saying free speech had to be weighed against “the requirements of orderly administration of administrative personnel."

Separately, advocates argue that allowing federal employees to mix their official duties with political advocacy risks corruption, and officials being able to wield their government titles in a way that elevates their voice over the common citizen.

That thinking appears to be reflected in Kerner's report, in which he admonishes Conway as a "repeat offender," and makes the case that if she isn't subject to discipline it could diminish the OSC's ability to enforce the act entirely.

"Ms. Conway's conduct undermines public confidence in the Executive branch and compromises the civil service system that the Hatch Act was intended to protect," Kerner wrote.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Data from President Donald Trump's first internal reelection campaign poll conducted in March, obtained exclusively by ABC News, showed him losing a matchup by wide margins to former Vice President Joe Biden in key battleground states.

Trump has repeatedly denied that such data exists.

The polling data, revealed for the first time by ABC News, showed a double-digit lead for Biden in Pennsylvania 55-39 and Wisconsin 51-41 and had Biden leading by seven points in Florida. In Texas, a Republican stronghold, the numbers showed the president only leading by two points.

ABC News did not obtain the poll’s early matchups against other candidates.

The New York Times was first to report the existence of the internal polls.

When presented by ABC News with these numbers, the Trump campaign confirmed the data saying in a statement that the numbers were old and that they have seen huge swings in Trump’s favor.

“These leaked numbers are ancient, in campaign terms, from months-old polling that began in March before two major events had occurred: the release of the summary of the Mueller report exonerating the President, and the beginning of the Democrat candidates defining themselves with their far-left policy message,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told ABC News in a statement. “Since then, we have seen huge swings in the President’s favor across the 17 states we have polled, based on the policies now espoused by the Democrats. For example, the plan to provide free health care to illegal immigrants results in an 18-point swing toward President Trump.”

Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election was released on March 24. While the Trump campaign’s full poll, which canvassed 17 states, was already in the field, it was well underway for four additional days after the release of Barr’s letter to the public.

The poll was conducted from March 15 through March 28.

The Trump campaign did not provide the results of the full 17 state poll, matchups against other candidates nor any updated polling figures.

Mueller's report did not find a conspiracy between Trump's campaign and the Russian government. The special counsel did not reach a conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice, and specifically did not exonerate him on that front.

Earlier in the week, the Trump campaign referenced “new data” that they claimed showed the president has a “lead in every state” they polled, according to a statement provided to ABC News by Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.

The campaign is claiming the new poll “tested the issues the Democrat field is running on” and produced a more favorable result for the president in head to head match-ups against 2020 Democrats when tied to issues like providing free healthcare to illegal immigrants.

Early polls are often subject to change, but it’s notable that the new poll the campaign is now touting tested “issues” tied to 2020 opponents— meaning the Democratic candidates were politically defined by the campaign.

“The President is correct that we have no current polls against defined Democrats – at all – that show him losing in any of the states we have tested. For example, the President leads in Florida by 8 points. He holds leads in all other states we have polled,” Parscale’s statement said. “Again, these months-old numbers are meaningless because they are pre-Mueller and pre-Democrat messaging, and should not be given any weight when discussing the current state of the race.”

In the recent days the president has continued to lash out against reports that his campaign’s internal polling showed him trailing in key battleground states, slamming the numbers as “phony polling information.” Trump has called his internal poll numbers “unbelievable” and that he was “the strongest I’ve ever been.”

Speaking with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday during an exclusive interview, the president said his internal polling showed that he is “winning everywhere."

When Stephanopoulos mentioned reports of polls commissioned by the Trump campaign that showed Biden ahead of him in key states, the president said “those polls don't exist.”

"Nobody showed you those polls because those polls don't exist, George. Those polls don't exist. I'm losing in 15 out of 17 states? Those polls don't exist," Trump said.

"I just was given a meeting with my pollster who I frankly don't even believe in pollsters if you want to know the truth, you just run a campaign and whatever it is, it is, but I just had a meeting with somebody that's a pollster and I'm winning everywhere, so I don't know what you're talking about."

A day later, the president took to Twitter and again claimed internal polling showing him behind in battleground states didn’t exist.

“The Fake (Corrupt) News Media said they had a leak into polling done by my campaign which, by the way and despite the phony and never ending Witch Hunt, are the best numbers WE have ever had. They reported Fake numbers that they made up & don’t even exist,” the president tweeted.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to try to walk back comments in an ABC News interview about his willingness to accept dirt on political rivals from a foreign adversary, telling Fox News that he would notify the FBI or the attorney general if the information was “incorrect or badly stated.”

“Of course you have to look at it because if you don't look at it you won't know it's bad,” Trump said on "Fox and Friends" Friday morning. "But, of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that."

In an interview that aired Wednesday, ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked the president if he would accept dirt from Russia or China if it were offered to him or turn it over to the FBI.

The president responded, "I think maybe you do both."

"I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening," Trump continued. "If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent' -- oh, I think I'd want to hear it."

Trump’s comments were met with outrage by many on Capitol Hill, including close allies from his own party like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Graham said the president’s response was “not the right answer.”

“If a foreign government comes to you as a public official, and offers to help your campaign giving you anything of value, whether it be money or information on your opponent, the right answer is no,” he said.

In his "Fox and Friends" interview, the president claimed that he has had “a lot of support” for his comments.

“Yeah, I've had a lot of support. I don't think anybody would present me with anything because they know how much I love the country,” Trump said Friday.

He then again conflated diplomacy with accepting dirt from opponents.

“One thing that's different with the president is I had dinner with the queen, I met with the prime minister of the UK, I was with the head of France, I was with the head of all the nations and I constantly am talking to them,” Trump said. “The president of France, am I suppose to report him to the FBI?”

Federal Election Commission chairwoman Ellen Weintraud released a statement on Thursday evening to underscore that foreign assistance is illegal in U.S. elections.

“Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election,“ wrote Weintraub, a Democrat, in a statement. “This is not a novel concept.“

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- NBC News on Friday announced the lineups for the first Democratic primary debates, officially setting the stage for the first direct clash between the crowded field of candidates vying for the party's presidential nomination.

The first debate, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo, will take place over two nights on June 26 and 27. The committee confirmed to ABC News in May that the final 20 candidates will be divided into two groups based on polling averages and then randomly assigned to a debate stage – to prevent the higher polling candidates all appearing on the same night.

Here are the candidates that will take the stage on night one (June 26): Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Here are the candidates that will take the stage on night two (June 27): former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, spiritual author Marianne Williamson, entrepreneur Andrew Yang

There are three declared candidates that did not meet the DNC's qualification standards for the first debate: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam.

A first chance to go head-to-head

The first debates of the nearly two-year long primary season will give candidates a chance to confront each other head on and come as candidates are beginning to draw sharp contrasts between each other on both substance and style.

Earlier this week former O'Rourke took aim at Biden, the early front-runner in the race questioning whether or not Biden is the candidate that can galvanize voters and reflects the shifting dynamics in today's Democratic Party.

"We've got to be bigger. You've got to ask yourself where Joe Biden is on the issues that are most important to you," O'Rourke said in an interview on MSNBC Thursday morning, "Did he support the war in Iraq that forever destabilized the Middle East? Did he really believe that women of lower incomes should be able to make their own decisions about their own body, to be able to afford health care in order to do that?"

The same day, Hickenlooper, who calls himself a "pragmatic" progressive, decried Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' argument that Democratic Socialism is the most effective way to pass a progressive policy agenda.

"The urgency now is even greater than before. Democrats must say loudly and clearly that we are not socialists. If we do not, we will end up helping to re-elect the worst President in our country’s history," Hickenlooper argued during a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., "'Socialism' is the most efficient attack line Republicans can use against Democrats as long as Trump is at the top of the ticket."

Now, Hickenoooper and Sanders will appear on the same stage later this month, a chance to hash out the argument over socialism directly.

The first debates will also give candidates their first opportunity to pitch their wide array of policy prescriptions to the major issues like climate change, healthcare, foreign policy, immigration and criminal justice reform, that have been percolating in the Democratic primary so far.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- If there's a silver lining for 2020 Democratic candidates who didn't make the cut for the first Democratic debates later this month, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is certainly looking for it.

As the only candidate elected in a state that also voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election, Bullock has argued that the DNC is blocking the one Democrat who can truly connect with Trump voters. He's taking advantage of not making the debate stage to emphasize what's he accomplished working with a Republican legislature in Montana -- and giving his campaign a chance at what his many rivals in the 2020 field wish for: a moment to stand apart from the pack.

Capitalizing on that moment, it took just a day after the DNC's announcement, Bullock's campaign to issue a fundraising call. In a new campaign ad obtained exclusively by ABC News, a man born and raised in Montana sits in the bed of his truck and rails against the DNC's decision not to include the governor on the debate stage.

"Yeah, I heard the news," says Jock Conyngham, a 63-year-old ecologist who comes from a long line of Montana ranchers. "DNC is saying Gov. Bullock doesn’t qualify for the debates. That’s horses--t."

Conyngham's dog, Muddy, sits nearby and on his lap is a local newspaper with a headline about Montana Democrats blasting the DNC.

"You don't need to be from Montana to know that anybody who wins by four, same election Trump wins by 20, is doing something right here," Conynham says. "He doesn’t qualify -- really?"

It's the second campaign ad Bullock's team has released that focuses primarily on the debates. An earlier ad, released a day before the announcement, featured a young woman from Montana who said Bullock wouldn't make the stage because he was too busy working on health care in the state.

Though he came close, Bullock was one of three major candidates to not qualify for the debate stage ahead of the first debate in June in Miami, an event that will draw millions of Democratic primary voters and offer exposure that could give candidates a boost.

The governor was on the cusp of meeting the DNC’s requirements and even briefly considered by media outlets to have met the threshold up until a recent DNC rule change, which removed one of the polls that would’ve qualified the Montana governor for the stage. After the change was publicized, Bullock qualified in only two polls accepted by the DNC. His campaign also did not meet the donor threshold.

“When the DNC blocks the leading Democratic voice on rural America from contributing to our Party's vision, we’re only making it that much easier for Donald Trump to be a two-term president,” said Galia Slayen, Bullock's communications director. She described the rules as "set by Washington elites."

The DNC rules for the June and July debates stipulate a candidate must either net at least 1% in three national or early-state polls conducted between January 2019 and two weeks before a given debate, or receive donations from more than 65,000 people across 20 states, with a minimum of 200 unique donors per state.

The DNC's recent rule change led to a Hail Mary effort late Wednesday night, just hours before the DNC began certifying each candidate for the stage. Bullock's campaign manager Jennifer Ridder wrote a letter to DNC Chairman Tom Perez and told him they had submitted documents to join the debate.

Bullock "has met the threshold for qualification for the first debate," Ridder argued Wednesday, and “looks forward to joining his colleagues on the stage for this important occasion."

Bullock also made the case in an op-ed Wednesday that the DNC not including him in the debate would be a sign the Democratic Party has not "learned the right lesson from the 2016 election." By Thursday evening, however, Bullock was resigned to not taking the debate stage.

“I'm disappointed with the DNC,” Bullock said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. But asked if he would challenge the DNC’s decision, Bullock demurred.

“Chuck, you just showed the board of everyone that’s going to be on there, so certainly, you know — disappointed,” he said, referring to a graphic of each of the 20 candidates who will be on the stage, including front-runners like former Vice President Joe Biden and lesser-known candidates like entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Previously, media outlets including POLITICO, MSNBC and ABC News had considered Bullock to have hit the polling threshold in three polls, including a Washington Post/ABC News poll, but the DNC later publicly said that poll was not eligible because it was open-ended.

A spokesperson for the DNC said they made the Bullock campaign aware that the poll would not count back in March.

But in her letter Wednesday, Ridder defended the February poll results, saying "polling experts agree that it's actually harder to get 1% in an open-ended vote question than when a list is provided." She argued that the DNC didn’t specify against open-ended polls in its original rules or certification rules.

"Since there is no sufficient warrant to exclude such a poll in either of the original rules or in the Polling Method Certification form promulgated by the DNC this week, the poll meets the DNC requirements and is valid," Ridder wrote.

The DNC did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

Two other 2020 candidates, Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, also fell short of the debate qualifications.

Messam, whose hometown of Miramar is just minutes from where the first debate will be held in June in Miami, told ABC News last week that he wasn't sure of the "system or rationale" behind the requirements developed by the DNC.

"But it'll definitely stifle the diversity of candidates that would be able to be heard on the debate stage," Messam predicted. Messam didn't hit the donor threshold and hit 1% in one poll.

In an interview at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston on Thursday, Moulton, who did not hit the donor threshold or 1% in any polls, said he hadn't expected to make the first debate because he entered the race later than most candidates.

The congressman said he wasn't concerned he didn't make the debate but also said he's "not naive."

"Look, it's a big field. And, you know, we poll very well among people who know me but most Americans just don't know me yet, because I'm new to the race," Moulton said.

And there's a long road ahead, a campaign spokesperson pointed out.

"At this point in 2016, Trump wasn't even in the race. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was the presumed nominee, and in 2004 we were preparing for President Howard Dean," said Moulton's national press secretary Matt Corridoni.

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CENTCOM/ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Friday directly blamed Iran for the attack on two oil tankers in Gulf of Oman, pointing to video the Pentagon released as evidence of Iran’s culpability, but when pressed would not reveal how the United States would respond despite his earlier threats to do so.

“Iran did do it,” the president said in an interview with Fox News Friday morning.

“You saw the boat, I guess one to have mines didn't explode and it has essentially got Iran written all over it. And you saw the boat at night trying to take the mine off the boat, unsuccessfully took the mine off the boat and that was exposed. And that was their boat, that was them, and they didn’t want the evidence left behind. It was them that did it,” Trump continued.

Iran denies it carried out the attack, which comes just weeks after a similar attack that the United States also said was Iran’s doing but did not make any evidence public.

Amid rising tensions between the US and Iran, the United States deployed an aircraft carrier to the Middle East last month in response to what the U.S. said was intelligence showing Iran or one of its proxies were planning an attack on U.S. assets.

President Trump has also issued stern verbal warnings to Iran, tweeting last month: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” At another point he said, “If they do anything they will suffer greatly” apparently referring to attacks on American troop, ships or other interests in the Middle East.

But despite his declared confidence in Iran’s culpability for the latest attack, and his previous harsh warnings, the president would not say Friday how he plans to respond to Iran’s latest provocation. Instead, the president sought to shift blame to former President Barack Obama for reaching a nuclear deal with Iran and also made the case that his administration’s sanctions on Iran have been effective.

“We are being very tough. We are being very tough on sanctions,” Trump said. “When I came into office, they were an absolute terror. They were all over the place. They were in Yemen, they were in Syria. We have 14 different sites of conflict, they were in charge of every single place and they really are, they are a nation of terror and they've changed a lot since I've been president, I can tell you. They were unstoppable and now they are in deep, deep trouble.”

“How do you stop the outrageous act?” "Fox an Friends" anchor Brian Kilmeade asked.

“We are going to see how to stop,” Trump said, not offering any hint to what actions the U.S. might be weighing in response and shifted to criticizing former President Obama.

“I don't think they've talked the same way when President Obama signed agreement, they were saying death to America, they were having good time at his expense and he’s given them 150 billion in cash, cash, nobody ever heard of a thing like that and all of that money and screaming death to America, they haven't screamed death to America lately,” Trump said.

The president later said he wants to sit back down at the negotiating table with Iran, but added “I'm ready when they are. I'm in no rush.”

The president also said he’s not seeking military conflict but is instead focused on preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power: “I'm not looking to hurt the country but they can't have a nuclear weapon. It’s that simple.”

President Trump spoke Friday to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who just completed a trip to Iran and thanked him for "his effort to facilitate communication with Iran."

"The two leaders discussed a range bilateral issues, including Prime Minister Abe’s recent travel to Iran and the circumstances surrounding the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. President Trump thanked Prime Minister Abe for his effort to facilitate communication with Iran," a White House readout of the call said.

One of the attacked tankers on Thursday was Japanese-owned.

The White House would not confirm that Abe was asked to deliver a message from the president, but a senior official with Abe's office said the prime minister "told Supreme Leader Khamenei in a candid manner his own view what kind of intention President Trump had."

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MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said on Friday that he has no plans to fire his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway despite a federal watchdog agency's call the day before that she should be “removed from service” for using her office for political activity.

"No, I'm not going to fire her, I think she's a tremendous person, tremendous spokesperson, she's loyal, she's a great person," Trump said in an interview on Fox and Friends.

He added, "They have tried to take away her speech and I think you're entitled to free speech in the country. Now, I'm going to get a very strong briefing on it and I will see, but it seems to me very unfair."

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that investigates wrongdoing by government employees, said on Thursday that Conway “violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.” The report released Thursday cites comments Conway made during the Alabama Senate special election in December 2017, which the office found violated the Hatch Act in another report released last year.

Conway, whose formal title is Counselor to the President, commented on the Alabama election in multiple interviews at the time, though the White House defended her comments as reflecting the president's positions on policy.

"Doug Jones in Alabama, folks don’t be fooled," Conway said during one Fox and Friends interview. "He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He’s weak on crime, weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He’s terrible for property owners. And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he’s not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him."

The report also cites more recent statements to White House reporters in which Conway criticized former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, both of whom are seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

In an interview on May 29, Conway reportedly downplayed the law, according to Thursday's OSC press release, saying she wouldn't stop making political statements.

“If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work,” and “Let me know when the jail sentence starts," she said, according to the OSC press release.

A spokesman for the office said it's the first time the office has recommended the removal of a White House official. In the report, sent to Trump on Thursday, the office said that Conway has not faced consequences for her repeated violations of ethics rules on government employees.

The office recommended Conway be removed from her position because she has "shown disregard" for the law that prohibits federal government employees from engaging in political activities.

"Ms. Conway's disregard for the restrictions the Hatch Act places on on executive branch employees in unacceptable," Special Counsel Henry Kerner wrote in the report. "If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in removal from her position by the Merit Systems Protection Board."

"As a highly visible member of the administration, Ms. Conway's violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act's restrictions. Her actions erode the principal foundation of our democratic system - the rule of law," Kerner continued.

White House deputy press secretary Steven Groves said in a statement that the OSC's actions are "deeply flawed."

“The Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) unprecedented actions against Kellyanne Conway are deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process. Others, of all political views, have objected to the OSC’s unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees. Its decisions seem to be influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations – and perhaps OSC should be mindful of its own mandate to act in a fair, impartial, non-political manner, and not misinterpret or weaponize the Hatch Act,” Groves said.

The Hatch Act was passed in 1939 and aims to ensure that federal programs are administered without partisan bias and to protect federal employees from political pressure. The president and vice president are exempted by the rule. The Merit Systems Protection Board is a judicial agency that adjudicates civil cases involving federal employees. The OSC report says the board has recommended removal of employees in other cases where they engaged in political activity even after being warned it could violate the Hatch Act.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings announced the committee will hold a hearing with the Office of Special Counsel on June 26 and will invite Conway to testify.

The Office of Special Counsel is not connected to the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Conway was also found to have violated ethics rules when she directed viewers to buy items from Ivanka Trump's clothing line in a 2017 interview. She has previously said that she discussed the incidents with the president.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump slammed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell again this week, insisting that Powell’s actions have prevented the economy from soaring even higher and declaring he’s out of patience with the man he picked to lead the nation’s central bank.

His comments -- during an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopolous -- were among his strongest yet aimed at the politically independent Federal Reserve. They add weight to concerns that the president could try to oust the head of the Federal Reserve, even if he isn’t successful. Powell has said he wouldn’t resign if asked by Trump.

Speaking with Stephanopoulos in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Tuesday, Trump said that the market would be stronger "if we had a different person in the Federal Reserve who wouldn’t have raised interest rates so much.”

Trump’s repeated public criticism of the Federal Reserve potentially puts the chairman in an uncomfortable position. If Powell eventually does what Trump wants -- even if he makes that decision independently without factoring in the president’s opinion -- the board could be perceived as biased or politically tainted.

At one point in the exchange, Stephanopoulos asks Trump whether he has concerns that his repeated commentary on the Federal Reserve puts Powell “in a box.”

“Yes, I do,” Trump responded. “But I’m gonna do it anyway because I’ve waited long enough.”

The Federal Reserve -- which can raise or lower interest rates to slow down or stimulate the economy with inflationary concerns in mind -- was created so as to operate independently of any political influence.

While the president can appoint its chair and fill open seats on the board with governors serving 14-year terms, the Federal Reserve doesn’t need approval from the White House or Congress to raise or lower rates. Even its budget remains independent, with operations paid for through fees and income generated from the securities it owns.

Firing a Federal Reserve chairman or governor for “cause” is feasible but also virtually unheard of. The last time a Federal Reserve chair clashed so starkly with a president was under President Lyndon B. Johnson, though the chairman at the time, William McChesney Martin, didn't resign.

In his interview, Trump said he was “allowed” to criticize Powell and claimed it was commonplace in the “old days” for a president to "settle" with the bank’s chairman.

“You know, in the old days, they used to speak to the head of the Federal Reserve often,” Trump said.

“And it was … very much a part of the administration from the standpoint as they’d talk and they’d really settle,” he said. “You have no idea how important it is.”

Trump said he thinks the market could be 10,000 points higher if the Federal Reserve hadn’t hiked rates last year.

At one point, Stephanopolous notes that Powell wouldn’t be in the job if it weren’t for him.

“He’s my pick,” Trump acknowledged. “And I disagree with him entirely.”

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump is directly disputing the account of a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible obstruction of justice during the course of the Russia probe saying that it "doesn't matter" what his former White House counsel Don McGahn testified.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, Trump says McGahn "may have been confused" when he told Mueller that Trump instructed him multiple times to have the acting attorney general remove the special counsel because of perceived conflicts of interest.

"The story on that very simply, No. 1, I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller," Trump told Stephanopoulos.

But when Stephanopoulos pushed back and referenced McGahn's testimony, Trump was defiant.

"I don't care what [McGahn] says, it doesn't matter," Trump said.

"Why would [McGahn] lie under oath?" Stephanopoulos later asked.

"Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer," Trump said. "Or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen -- including you, including the media -- that Robert Mueller was conflicted. Robert Mueller had a total conflict of interest."

"And has to go?" Stephanopoulos followed up.

"I didn't say that," Trump insisted.

The special counsel's report (Vol. II, page 80) undercuts Trump's oft-repeated claim that Mueller was conflicted.

At the president’s instruction McGahn is currently fighting a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee to testify publicly about those conversations with Trump, among other things. McGahn spent nearly 30 hours with the special counsel’s investigators testifying under oath and was one of most quoted aides to the president to appear in the report.

Trump also defended his decision not to sit for an in-person interview with Mueller's investigators -- something he had repeatedly said he would do -- by expressing concern investigators were looking to catch him in lies or misstatements. He ultimately submitted written responses to questions from the investigators.

And while Trump ultimately refused to speak to Mueller’s investigators directly about McGahn and other topics, he wasn’t shy about sharing his views with ABC News.

"If you answer these questions to me now," Stephanopoulos asked, "why not answer them to Robert Mueller under oath?"

"Because they were looking to get us for lies or slight misstatements," Trump said. "I looked at what happened to people, and it was very unfair. Very, very unfair. Very unfair."

When Stephanopoulos pointed out that the president did not provide written answers to address questions of possible obstruction of justice, Trump grew frustrated.

"Wait a minute," Trump said. "Wait a minute. I did answer questions. I answered them in writing."

"Not on obstruction," Stephanopoulos said.

"George, you're being a little wise guy, OK -- which is, you know, typical for you," Trump shot back. "Just so you understand. Very simple. It's very simple. There was no crime. There was no collusion. The big thing's collusion. Now, there's no collusion. That means they set -- it was a setup, in my opinion, and I think it's going to come out."

While Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction, the 11 episodes of possible obstruction he investigated have been a central component to Democrats' case for impeachment.

The special counsel's investigation did not find sufficient evidence to establish there was a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but it did detail several "offers of assistance to the [Trump] campaign" by the Russian government. Mueller did not reach a conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice, the special counsel said, because charging the president with a crime was "not an option we could consider" because of Justice Department policy.

The word "collusion," itself, as members of Trump’s legal team have repeatedly pointed out, does not appear in the federal code.

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